SAFC U21 0-2 Cardiff City U21
SAFC Under-21s suffered defeat on matchday three of the Premier League Cup group stage, as Caleb Hughes’ brace secured a 2-0 win for Cardiff City at Eppleton on Monday.
The young Lads’ loss was not for the want of creating chances, as the visitors had their goalkeeper to thank on numerous occasions.
An entirely rotated starting XI took to the field on the night, as Graeme Murty wrung the changes from last week’s visit to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Among the starters were Tom Scott, Owen Robinson and Connor Pye. Tom Chiabi lined up against his former side, with 17-year-olds Henry Fieldson and Daniel Cameron also in the XI.
Goalkeeper Matthew Young, just 15, was named amongst the substitutes alongside an outfield group of U21 regulars.
Cameron was forced into action in his goal early on, keeping out James Crole’s header, before Ellis Taylor – captain for the night, cut onto his left foot only to find his strike cleared off the line.
Sunderland were immediately punished, as Hughes got on the end of a pull-back to the edge of the area, and showed good technique to steer a side-footed shot nestling in the corner.
Cameron then denied Morgan Wigley at his near post as Cardiff’s tails rose, this coming after Cameron Jessup and Scott both made crucial interventions to thwart the Welsh outfit.
The end of the half brought a degree of controversy, as Max Thompson took down an intended shot from Scott, before slotting it into the net. Initially awarded as a goal, the referee later consulted his assistant, the pair reaching a decision of an alleged handball by the striker – 1-0 to the visitors it remained at the break.
The second half witnessed a sustained spell of pressure from the Lads, with chances being created.
This did however come after a let-off as Joel Colwill’s shot struck the inside of Cameron’s far post.
Thompson beat two defenders and saw his close-range shot blocked by goalkeeper Matt Turner, before Taylor’s excellent dipping effort from 25 yards clipped the crossbar.
Robinson then produced a great piece of acrobatic skill, his bicycle kick somehow tipped over by Turner.
And immediately, it was 2-0. After winning a free-kick 30 yards from goal, left of centre, Hughes stepped up to curl in a very good effort for his and City’s second.
The Black Cats continued to knock on the door, Turner again forced into action to deny Ben Middlemas and a volley from Michael Spellman, after Thompson’s low effort was blocked by the Bluebirds’ defence. He would also keep out Harrison Sohna’s header.
Cardiff were able to see out the game, to travel back to South Wales with three Group H points. We return to Eppleton next Monday for PL Cup matchday four, hosting Wolves.
SAFC U21: Cameron; Wilson, Jessup, Fieldson (Johnson 77’), Pye; Chiabi, Scott (Sohna 72’); Taylor ©, Robinson (Spellman 72’), Middlemas; Thompson.
Subs not used: Young, Burke.